Saturday, 24 March 2018

"This book is comedy genius!" - Chat About Books reviews The Drought by Steven Scaffardi

The Drought, Steven Scaffardi, Lad Lit, Chick Lit, Comedy Book, Comedy Novel, Funny Book
This book review was originally posted on Chat About Books on Sunday, April 30, 2016

The Drought has been patiently waiting on my kindle for a whole year!! I know!! My apologies, Steven, but better late than never. I’m working my way through my review list slowly, but surely.

I took part in Steven’s blog tour last year. You can find my post here: #LadLitBlogTour – Q&A with author, Steven Scaffardi

Anyway, if you haven’t already read this book you really should as it is hilarious! Reading it in bed, next to a sleeping husband, trying not to laugh out loud has been quite a challenge!

The main character, Dan Hilles, is struggling to get his leg over since splitting up with his long term girlfriend and The Drought follows his story as he counts the hours, days and weeks since the last time he had sex, and his failing attempts with the ladies. His three best friends, Jack, Rob and Ollie are all very different characters, but all likeable in their own way and together they are so funny. The banter between them is brilliant! Ollie cracked me up, Rob is quite the ladies man and Jack, well, I’m not quite sure what to say about Jack! I liked Dan and couldn’t help but feel sorry for him as he seems like a genuinely nice bloke. Some of the situations he gets himself into though……. and his Mum’s reaction to some of those situations!! LOL! I loved his Mum.

This book is comedy genius! I loved it and hope it isn’t too long before I get the chance to read the sequel, The Flood.

Friday, 23 March 2018

How My Legendary Girlfriend changed my life (…the book by Mike Gayle, not an actual girlfriend!)

Mike Gayle
This guest post was originally posted on Rather Fond of Books on Saturday, May 7, 2016 as prt of the #LadLitBlogTour

Today is my turn on Steven Scaffardi’s Lad Lit blog tour and I have a fab guest post by Steven to share with you. I was really happy when Steven suggested writing about how Mike Gayle’s My Legendary Girlfriend changed his life, as I remember reading that book soon after it was published and I loved it. It was something different that I hadn’t read before, so it’s very interesting to read how this book inspired Steven.

How My Legendary Girlfriend changed my life (…the book by Mike Gayle, not an actual girlfriend!)

Travelling up and down the country in the #LadLitBlogTour bus has given me plenty of time to research other great articles on lad lit, hidden in and around that big world wide web called the internet.

Earlier this week, I found this great piece on lad lit author Matt Dunn with titled The Book That Changed My Life. Matt explains that it was Nick Hornby’s masterpiece High Fidelity that inspired him to write his first novel Best Man, which led to securing him a publishing deal.

It got me thinking – what was the book that inspired me to write lad lit? A lot of people have asked me on this blog tour why I write lad lit, and often my response has been because I was inspired by my own experiences and those stories told to me by friends. But the more I think about it, the more I start to realise how important My Legendary Girlfriend by Mike Gayle was to me writing The Drought.

In the summer of 2005 I moved out of my parents’ house and into my own flat in south London with a good friend of mine. After a game of paper, scissors, rock, to determine who got the bigger room, I found myself cramped into the box room wondering where the hell I was going to put all of my stuff.

I wandered into my flatmates bedroom to see if he had any space he could afford to lend me (he didn’t of course, I’d have to make do with shoving stuff under my bed), but I was drawn to his bookcase. I was looking for a new book to read, and after flicking through a couple of books that didn’t really take my interest, I picked up My Legendary Girlfriend.

It was one of four or five Mike Gayle books he had on his shelf. After reading the blurb, my flatmate told me what a great book it was, but being a man who had mainly read crime novels and other macho books like that, I turned my nose up at the thought of reading a book about relationships. “That was for girls,” I told him.

Still, it had secretly piqued my interest, and later on that night I found myself sneaking into my flatmates room to steal the copy off his bookshelf. Granted it was a bit awkward when he woke up at 2am and saw me in my boxer shorts hovering around his bed, but after time we got over the incident. Actually, we just don’t bring it up anymore…

But..! The next morning I found myself engrossed in Mike’s words as he articulated the male mind on the pages of a book like I’d never seen (or read) before. I was hooked – Will Kelly was a real bloke, who viewed the world, women, dating and love like a guy did. Not like one of those perfect specimens who appeared in the chick lit novels my then-girlfriend would read; the type of guy who made it virtually impossible for all other men to stand up against in the real world.

Instead Mike captured all of the quirks and insecurities that the everyday man goes through in matters of the heart. And you know what – it was funny too. Hilarious even! The best comedy is always the type of comedy you can relate to, and before you knew it I was sneaking into a flatmates room on a regular basis to pick up another Mike Gayle book. Looking back, it probably would have been better if I had just asked him if I could borrow the books. The least I could do is wear something other than just my boxer shorts every time I paid him an impromptu late night visit.

And years later, I’m still a fan of Mike Gayle, and like Matt Dunn admits to doing with High Fidelity, I often find myself referring back to one of Mike’s books when I get stuck or I am looking for inspiration. It has served me well, and one of the biggest compliments I got after publishing The Drought was TV presenter Ortis Deley saying: “A pleasantly darker alternative to the offerings of Mike Gayle. All hail the arrival of Steven Scaffardi.”

It was high praise indeed, and if I can be half as good a writer as Mike Gayle, then I’ll be a very happy man!

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Four-star book review for The Flood (taken from Hey Said Renee)

The Flood, Steven Scaffardi, Lad Lit, Comedy, Funny, Novel, eBook, Kindle Unlimited, Chick Lit
This book review was originally posted on Hey Said Renee on Friday, May 6, 2016 as part of the #LadLitBlogTour

This story of the nice guy trying to be a bad boy had me laughing out loud on several occasions. This is the second book in the series and although I really enjoyed it without reading the first book, I think The Flood would have been even better if I'd read The Drought.

The style of writing reminded me of the self depreciating humour of a stand up comedian (probably because, as it turns out, the author is a stand up comedian). I enjoyed the insight into the inner workings of a man's mind. The eclectic collection of women he was attempting to date at the same time had me hurling advice Dan's way, then the ridiculous situations he ended up in had me saying "I told you so".

If you're looking for some fun escapism, grab both these books, then wait with bated breath for the next one. Please tell me there will be a next one!

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

An Interview with Dan Hilles – Leading Man! (taken from Linda's Book Bag)

This character interview was originally posted on Linda's Book Bag on Friday, April 22, 2016 as part of the #LadLitBlogTour

Character Interview: Dan Hilles from the Sex, Love & Dating Disasters series

This week I am delighted to be joined by Dan Hilles – star of the Sex, Love and Dating Disaster series of lad lit novels by Steven Scaffardi. Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Dan. Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
Thanks Linda, it’s great to be here. What can I tell you about myself? I’m a pretty regular kind of guy – regular job, regular bunch of mates, regular male aversion to shopping. I appear in both The Drought and The Flood in lead roles, which isn’t as good as it sounds.

Indeed. Let’s start with your escapades – or lack of escapades I should say – in The Drought. The story starts off with you breaking up with your girlfriend, Stacey, of three years in what can only be explained as a rather terrifying ordeal. What do you remember about that day?
It was New Year’s Day. I’d had another pointless argument with Stacey the night before and woke up to 47 rather irate messages from her. It was the final straw. Some relationships just run their course, but I wanted to do the right thing so I went around to Stacey’s flat to talk to her. However, Stacey being Stacey didn’t quite see eye to eye with me on a few things, and before you knew it things get out of control and then her best friend Sophie appears out of nowhere and all hell breaks loose! I ended up having to leg it home before Sophie could do any real damage to. That girl has a screw loose!

So after three years you find yourself single again. How did that work out for you?
Not great. After being in a relationship for three years I had completely forgotten the rules of the dating game. It wasn’t too bad to begin with; I just thought I needed to get back into the swing of things. But as the days rolled into weeks and the weeks rolled into months I started to get anxious. It was as though every girl I met knew I was on this sexual drought, like I was giving off some sort of awful scent. Women like Obsession by Calvin Klein, but Desperation by Dan Hilles makes them run a mile.

You certainly suffered your fair share of dating disasters in The Drought. Can you share any of those stories without giving anything away to anyone who has yet to read the book?
It’s not something I look back fondly on. Put it this way – I learned a lot about what not to do! For example, don’t get steaming drunk on a first date and attempt to dance in an RnB club. White men can’t dance very well at the best of times, but throw in copious amounts of alcohol and some Usher, and before you know it you’ll end up like I did. Waving your arms around on the dancefloor like an octopus that only has two tentacles and is trying to compensate for the missing six is not a good look.

Sounds like you had it pretty tough. Luckily you had your friends and their male pearls of wisdom to help you get through it then?
If that’s what you call it! On one hand you have my best friend Rob who is so good looking that he only needs to look at a girl to get her excited, so trying to take on his techniques was a non-starter. Ollie is a nice guy, but I was hardly going to take advice from a man who thinks Kama Sutra was a foreign exchange student we went to school with. And don’t even get me started on Jack. That little idiot said he was going to help me improve what he called my ‘man moves’ and the less said about that, the better! You can read the book if you want to find out what happened because I can’t even bring myself to talk about anymore.

Oh dear, well let’s move on to a different subject then. Tell me about the new book The Flood. This time you find yourself with the opposite problem of having too many girls. How did this happen?
Everything was going brilliantly. I had a new job, I had just moved into a new place in Clapham and I’d been doing okay with the ladies. Life was good. Until we went to the pub one Sunday afternoon and the boys started to tease me; telling me I was too nice a guy to be able to juggle more than one girl once. Well, after one beer too many I’d had enough of their goading and I made a rather stupid bet that I could date four girls at the same time over the course of eight weeks. Big mistake. It complicated my life worse than the drought did!

Sounds like you let yourself in for a spot of bother! That pretty much brings our interview to a close. Thank you for joining me Dan. I’ll let you have the last word. Why should people read about your life in The Drought and The Flood?
Honestly, I’d rather they didn’t! But if they do want to read the books, then at least men will be able to find out what not to do when it comes to the opposite sex, and women can find out what really goes on in the male mind.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

An Interview With a Lad Lit Fan

This interview was olriginally posted on Hey Said Renee on Friday, May 6, 2016 as part of the #LadLitBlogTour

G’day fellow book lovers! It’s day 18 of the Lad Lit Blog Tour and I’m here in sunny Australia with Hey Said Renee. For the past two and half weeks I have been busy promoting my books and championing lad lit, but I’m worried people might be getting bored of hearing from me. So to change things up a bit, I interviewed chick lit fan and book reviewer Kell Smurthwaite, to get her take on lad lit…

Hi Kell, thank you for joining me for this interview to discuss everything lad lit as part of the Lad Lit Blog Tour. For readers who have never read lad lit before, how would you describe it?
That's a tough one, because Lad-Lit is such a wide-ranging genre that can incorporate anything from sci-fi to historical fiction to action, and everything in between. One thing that I do see recurring most often, though, is a darker sense of humour than Chick-Lit, which I love. I've also never really been a fan of romances, as I tend to find them a bit namby-pamby and very unrealistic, whereas, if there happens to be a bit of love interest in a Lad-Lit novel, there is that ever-present undercurrent of humour, and a little more realism, rather than idealism.

As a fan of both chick lit and lad lit, what do you think are the biggest differences and similarities between the two genres?
I think the way romantic encounters are portrayed are probably the biggest difference. As I mentioned before, there's that element of poking fun at the protagonist, and a more realistic approach to the foibles of the partners in Lad-Lit, whereas Chick-Lit often puts a soft focus on those scenes, painting a picture of the perfect man for the heroine. I live in an imperfect world, and I don't want an impossibly perfect image of a man – it kind of sets the standards too high for real life relationships, if you get what I mean! Lad-Lit definitely has the edge for me there. I guess I'd say the biggest similarity between the genres is the imperfection of the lead character. In Chick-Lit, you'll often have a ditzy girl who can't get her life together till she meets the right guy (I know, right? Since when was life made easier by love?), and Lad-Lit will often have a similarly clueless guy in the lead, often a bit of a Jack-the-lad, although, he doesn't always settle down when he finds the right girl. In fact, he usually screws it up in some way. I guess I prefer the complications involved there – far more realistic!

Who is your favourite lad lit author and why?
I love Nick Hornby! I recognise an awful lot of his leading men as being very like guys I know and have known in the past. I usually find them rather endearing, often because of, rather than in spite of, their idiosyncrasies.

What is the best lad lit book you've ever read?
I know it's probably a little clichéd to say it, but High Fidelity by Nick Hornby is one of my favourites. I think partially because of my own love of music, but largely because of how raw the emotions of Rob and Laura are portrayed. Their reactions to their relationship problems and life in general are very real and very, well, human. It's just a great book, full stop. Everyone should read it, male or female!

In your opinion, why has lad lit never hit the heights of chick lit?
The only reason I can think of could possibly be that reading has largely been seen as a more feminine pastime – although I know plenty of men who do read, I know far more women who do, and the reading men in my circle are heavily outnumbered by the non-readers. I love it when I see a guy reading. A man with a book in his hands is instantly infinitely more attractive to me – it shows he can engage his mind in a way to which I can personally relate. And let's face it, who doesn't love talking about their favourite books with other people?

If you had 20 seconds to convince someone why they should read lad lit what would you say?
People should just read, full stop! Seriously, pick up a book and start reading. It doesn't matter what genre, just read! And if you don't like the book you're reading, put it down and try a different one. There are so many great books out there, and if you don't enjoy reading, it's just because you haven't found the right book to light that fire in you that makes you want to keep going and read more. Find that book, and you'll never look back!

Monday, 19 March 2018

What is lad lit?

The Flood by Steven Scaffardi
This guest post was originally published on Linda's Book Bag on Sunday, March 27, 2016 as part of the #LadLitBlogTour

Talking lad lit with Steven Scaffardi...
Lad lit is a bit like the literary black sheep of the family. It’s made a few mistakes in the past and it is still paying for it now. It’s not like it hasn’t tried making amends, but it just seems that people don’t want to listen. If only they’d give it a second chance.

Even Wikipedia, that bastion of internet information, seems to be so upset that if you type ‘lad lit’ into their search box, it can’t even bring itself to refer to it by its rightful name in the first line of its description of the genre:

“Fratire” is a type of 21st-century fiction literature written for and marketed to young men in a politically incorrect and overtly masculine fashion.

Fratire? What the hell is fratire?! The sentence ‘a type of 21st-century fiction literature’ implies it’s not willing to attribute the fact that it is a real genre. It’s as good as calling it ‘a so-called fiction literature’ with as much contempt as you can muster. And what’s with the patronising inverted commas, used I’m sure in the same way like one of those annoying people who insist on holding their two fingers in the air and bending them down at the precise moment they utter a word that is unworthy of being part of the sentence leaving their mouth?

There is no doubt about it – Wikipedia does not like lad lit, and when the biggest encyclopedia in the world has an issue with you, what chance have you got?

Oh, you think I’m being over the top or too sensitive? Okay, let’s type ‘chick lit’ into the Wikipedia search box and see what it has to say about lad lit’s older, more respected sibling:

Chick lit or Chick literature is genre fiction which addresses issues of modern womanhood, often humorously and lightheartedly.

Hmmm, no inverted commas, the correct use of their name, no disdain pouring out from every syllable, just a pleasant and respectful description that makes you want to read a bit more, which is more than we can say about that awful little oik of brother of yours.

So what did lad lit actually do? Well, it uses the word ‘lad’ for a start; a word normally found loitering around in low-brow environments such as lads mags.

But what if lad lit was given a clean slate? What if the next time you saw those two little words you decided to give it a chance rather than dismiss it out of hand immediately? You’d be pleasantly surprised.

That’s why I started #LadLitSunday; a social media initiative to highlight the great work being written by lad lit authors. When you start to compile a list of authors leading the way in the genre, it’s hugely impressive.

Tony Parsons, Mike Gayle, Nick Spalding, Matt Dunn, Danny Wallace, Jon Rance.

Nick Hornby.

Just last month the undisputed king of lad lit was rubbing shoulders with Hollywood’s elite as he was nominated for a Best Screenplay award for a second time, hot on the heels of his Bafta win just a week before.

It was another accolade for the man who brought to life the Arsenal 1989 title winning season in a more romantic way than Michael Thomas’ winning goal itself, not to mention the brilliant Rob Fleming in High Fidelity. Fleming epitomised everything you have been told to hate about lad lit characters. As, lad lit is: A literary genre that features books written by men and focusing on young, male characters, particularly those who are selfish, insensitive, and afraid of commitment.

Well you know what? Fleming was selfish, insensitive, and afraid of commitment, but it was for all of those reasons that Hornby’s book became such a huge success; transformed into a big screen adaption and musical.

Lad lit might not always conform to the chick lit rule of HEA, but it pays it a huge compliment by being the prelude to the HEA. If book genres were a diet then lad lit would be the ‘before’ picture and chick lit would be the ‘after’ image.

In my Sex, Love and Dating Disasters series I love exploring the hilarious situations people can relate to before they find that perfect partner. Lad lit is that awkward first date you still tell your friends about 10 years later. It’s the boyfriend you will forever wonder what was I thinking when I got with him? It’s what puts the com in romcom!

I recently interviewed Matt Dunn, best-selling author of The Ex-Boyfriends Handbook, and asked him to explain how male writers tackle a similar genre to our female counterparts differently. He said: “Personally, I think we just tell it how it is from our point of view. Or rather, how we see it. Which is kind of how it is, if you believe all that ‘perception is reality’ bollocks. Which I do, obviously.”

And that, in a nutshell, best sums up what lad lit is really about – a story told from a different perspective; not necessarily politically incorrect or overtly masculine fashion, and it certainly doesn’t always feature characters who are selfish, insensitive, and afraid of commitment.

So in the true fashion of those of you who love reading or are about to embark on a new book challenge, next time you happen to be sitting around one Sunday afternoon looking for that next book, promise me you’ll check out the hashtag #LadLitSunday and you might just find that alternative HEA you have been looking for.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

The Drought by Steven Scaffardi book review (taken from Bookaholic Confessions)

This book review was originally posted on Bookaholic Confessions on Friday, April 29, 2016 as part of the #LadLitBlogTour

4 Stars
When Dan Hilles breaks up with his long-term girlfriend something very odd seems to happen to him. He suddenly becomes tongue-tied around the opposite sex and appears unable to even strike up a (normal) conversation with a girl, let alone ask one out on a date… This results in Dan finding himself in what he refers to as a ‘Drought’. The longer the Drought goes on, the harder Dan tries to find himself a date, leading to some very awkward, unusual and down-right hilarious consequences. Why has it suddenly become so impossible for Dan to land himself a date? After all, he’s a ‘seven-out-of-ten’ kinda’ guy and his bunch of quirky yet loveable friends seem to have no trouble attracting the ladies. Will ‘The Drought’ ever end or is Dan destined to stay date-less for ever (gulp)?

‘Lad-Lit’ is a genre that I have grown to love over recent years. It seems to be something which is becoming more and more prominent and its unique-selling-point seems to be that it’s one of those rare types of novel which appeal to both men and women. I would class ‘lad-lit’ as Mike Dunn, Nick Spalding, Jon Rance (a selection of authors who I absolutely love!)…And I can now firmly add Steven Scaffardi to that list because if lad-lit is your thing then The Drought is a must-read. I think the main reason novels such as The Drought appeal to both male and female readers is because of two reasons. Firstly, for male readers, they will undoubtedly be able to relate to this story. It could be written about them and their group of friends. It’s funny, realistic and has a narrator talks total sense (to them at least…!) and is also incredibly likeable. From the female perspective, this novel is almost like an insight into the workings of the male mind. It’s amazing to read about the thoughts and ideas that run through Dan’s head (and it’s also extremely funny at times…And kind of scary, actually.)

Bearing in mind that this is a novel based around the lives of a group of four young men, there is the usual selection of banter, boobs and bottoms. Although I think you’d assume that this might be the case from the get-go so don’t be outraged if it’s not your cup of tea.

As a female reader I completely warmed to Dan. Ok, there might have been times when he did/said/believed the silliest of things but that’s all part of his charm. His heart is in the right place and I was totally on his side throughout. It was brilliant when he would do something seemingly innocent only for it to totally backfire on him. Your heart will go out to him whilst you’re quietly chuckling to yourself. Admittedly it’s usually his friends who get him into these cringe-worthy situations and for this reason they are a cracking set of characters. Their friendship group is both hilarious yet realistic and they certainly made me chortle when they got together. My favourite moments include their outing to Brighton (exotic dancers, anyone!?) and when Rob, Ollie and Jack individually coach Dan to get him ‘back in the game’; this involves overhauling his style, fitness levels and teaching him other, erm, things of vital importance. I liked Rob the best (You’ve got to love a guy who knows his fashion, am I right?) I also really liked the relationship between Dan and his work colleague, Kelly. They have great chemistry and I am SO pinching their game of ‘Office Dare’!

Lots of books are described as being ‘laugh-out-loud’ funny, but The Drought genuinely will have you sniggering. In fact, more than sniggering…Try a great, big, good old belly laugh. I love books like this – books that can completely take my mind off everything else and make me smile. This novel really was a brilliantly funny, well constructed, light, fun-filled read.

There are so many stories centred around dating from the female-perspective that it made a refreshing change to read a novel from a male point of view. Not necessarily one for the faint hearted, but if you’re a fan of humour and cheekiness then you’ll love Dan’s misadventures.

I personally am really looking forward to the follow-up, The Flood. I miss blundering-yet-loveable Dan and his coin-purse…